Monday, July 16, 2012

Oh, Sweet Child Of Mine

Published: April 17th, 2012
The Springsweet (The Vespertine # 2)
By: Saundra Mitchell
Harcourt Children's Books
ISBN-13: 9780547608426

Heartbroken over the tragic death of her fiancĂ©, seventeen-year-old Zora Stewart leaves Baltimore for the frontier town of West Glory, Oklahoma, to help her young widowed aunt keep her homestead going. There she discovers that she possesses the astonishing ability to sense water under the parched earth. When her aunt hires her out as a "springsweet” to advise other settlers where to dig their wells, Zora feels the burden of holding the key to something so essential to survival in this unforgiving land. Even more, she finds herself longing for love the way the prairie thirsts for water. Maybe, in the wildness of the territories, Zora can finally move beyond simply surviving and start living.


   Zora Stewart stops caring about life after her fiance Thomas and her cousin Amelia both die.  With her Mother determined to shove her back into her old life, Zora takes drastic measures.  After almost publicly ruining herself, her Mother finally agrees to send her to live with her widowed Aunt Birdie(not much older than her) and her cousin Louella in West Glory, Oklahoma.  Once she gets there, Zora finds out that she is a springsweet, able to sense water underneath the parched surface of the Earth.  This is a really valuable talent on the dry frontier land, so her Aunt Birdie starts hiring her out to the neighbors.  Meanwhile Zora is resisting the attentions of Theo De La Croix, the man from back home that she used in scheme to get sent away.  She is undeniably attracted to Emerson Birch, a man regarded as trashy and a problem waiting to happen by the other townspeople.  Can Zora make a decision that will allow her to follow her heart or will she be unable to let go of the past?  I honestly was iffy about reading this book after being disappointed by the mediocrity of The Vespertine.  But I was pleasantly surprised.  I really liked Zora in the first book and watching her grow as a person, become even stronger and move past the heartbreak she'd suffered was wonderful.  I honestly didn't particularly care for Aunt Birdie all that much.  I felt like she was too pushy and not a deep enough character.  While I liked Theo, I felt that Emerson was definitely the right match for Zora.  Theo was too much like her old life, while Emerson was part of the frontier world Zora joined.  The supernatural abilities that Zora and Emerson possess were unique.  I've never read of anything like Zora's water sense before in YA.  My major complaint is that this book was far too short.  I would have liked another 50-100 pages to allow the story more time to develop and the characters more time to get into my heart.  All the same, this book stands alone pretty well but the ending would be a little confusing without the backstory of The Vespertine.  Other than that, I'd say skip the first one and dive right into this interesting and fun novel.

VERDICT:  4.25/5  Stars

*No money or favors were exchanged for this review. This book is now available in stores and online.*

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